Table of Contents
Overview of Article 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 is a pivotal segment that establishes the qualifications and disqualifications for individuals aspiring to be members of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). This constitutional provision meticulously outlines the criteria that individuals must meet and the circumstances that may render them ineligible for parliamentary membership.
Article 63 States
63. Disqualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)
- A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if:-
- he is of unsound mind and has been so declared by a competent court; or
- he is an undischarged insolvent; or
- he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan, or acquires the citizenship of a foreign State; or
- he holds an office of profit in the service of Pakistan other than an office declared by law not to disqualify its holder; or
- he is in the service of any statutory body or any body which is owned or controlled by the Government or in which the Government has a controlling share or interest; or
- being a citizen of Pakistan by virtue of section 14B of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951 (II of 1951), he is for the time being disqualified under any law in force in Azad Jammu and Kashmir from being elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir; or
- he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release; or
- he has been, on conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release; or
- he has been dismissed from the service of Pakistan or service of a corporation or office set up or, controlled, by the Federal Government, Provincial Government or a Local Government on the grounds of misconduct, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his dismissal; or
- he has been removed or compulsorily retired from the service of Pakistan or service of a corporation or office set up or controlled by the Federal Government, Provincial Government or a Local Government on the ground of misconduct, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his removal or compulsory retirement; or
- he has been in the service of Pakistan or of any statutory body or any body which is owned or controlled by the Government or in which the Government has a controlling share or interest, unless a period of two years has elapsed since he ceased to be in such service; or
- he, whether by himself or by any person or body of persons in trust for him or for his benefit or on his account or as a member of a Hindu undivided family, has any share or interest in a contract, not being a contract between a cooperative society and Government, for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any contract or for the performance of any service undertaken by, Government:
Provided that the disqualification under this paragraph shall not apply to a person-
- where the share or interest in the contract devolves on him by inheritance or succession or as a legatee, executor or administrator, until the expiration of six months after it has so devolved on him;
- where the contract has been entered into by or on behalf of a public company as defined in the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984), of which he is a share-holder but is not a director holding an office of profit under the company; or
- where he is a member of a Hindu undivided family and the contract has been entered into by any other member of that family in the course of carrying on a separate business in which he has no share or interest; or
Explanation:- In this Article “goods” does not include agricultural produce or commodity grown or produced by him or such goods as he is, under any directive of Government or any law for the time being in force, under a duty or obligation to supply.
- he holds any office of profit in the service of Pakistan other than the following offices, namely :-
- an office which is not whole time office remunerated either by salary or by fee;
- the office of Lumbardar, whether called by this or any other title;
- the Qaumi Razakars;
- any office the holder whereof, by virtue of such office, is liable to be called up for military training or military service under any law providing for the constitution or raising of a Force; or
- he has obtained a loan for an amount of two million rupees or more, from any bank, financial institution, cooperative society or cooperative body in his own name or in the name of his spouse or any of his dependents, which remains unpaid for more than one year from the due date, or has got such loan written off; or
- he or his spouse or any of his dependents has defaulted in payment of government dues and utility expenses, including telephone, electricity, gas and water charges in excess of ten thousand rupees, for over six months, at the time of filing his nomination papers; or
- he is for the time being disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or of a Provincial Assembly under any law for the time being in force.
Explanation: For the purposes of this paragraph “law” shall not include an Ordinance promulgated under Article 89 or Article 128.
- If any question arises whether a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has become disqualified from being a member, the Speaker or, as the case may be, the Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the Election Commission within thirty days and should he fail to do so within the aforesaid period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the Election Commission.
- The Election Commission shall decide the question within ninety days from its receipt or deemed to have been received and if it is of the opinion that the member has become disqualified, he shall cease to be a member and his seat shall become vacant.
Key Points of Article 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Comprehensive Disqualifications: Article 63 presents a comprehensive list of disqualifications, covering mental fitness, financial stability, loyalty to the state, and ethical conduct. The intention is to set high standards for those who represent the people in the highest legislative body.
- Exceptions and Clarifications: The inclusion of exceptions and clarifications in Article 63 demonstrates a nuanced understanding of various circumstances. This approach prevents undue hardships in cases of inheritance, legitimate business activities, or specific offices that do not compromise parliamentary independence.
- Emphasis on Financial Responsibility: The provisions related to financial aspects emphasize the importance of financial responsibility and accountability for individuals seeking to serve in the nation’s highest legislative body. This underlines the commitment to transparent and ethical governance.
- Flexible Approach to Offices of Profit: The flexible approach to offices of profit in Article 63(1)(m) recognizes the diversity of roles individuals may hold outside parliamentary duties. It acknowledges part-time, non-remunerated positions and offices tied to national defense, reflecting an understanding of the evolving nature of professional commitments.
Crux of Article 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The crux of Article 63 lies in its commitment to upholding the integrity of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). By meticulously delineating disqualifications, the article ensures that individuals entrusted with legislative responsibilities possess the necessary mental, ethical, and financial attributes to serve the nation effectively. The nuanced approach to exceptions and clarifications strikes a balance between accountability and flexibility, recognizing the diverse circumstances individuals may face.
Conclusion: Article 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan is a cornerstone of governance integrity. It sets forth a robust framework, outlining qualifications and disqualifications that individuals must navigate to serve in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). The comprehensive nature of the article, coupled with its flexible approach to certain criteria, reflects a commitment to ensuring that the nation’s representatives adhere to the highest standards of competence, integrity, and loyalty to the state.
As Pakistan’s democracy matures, Article 63 remains an effective measure to help safeguard national governance by assuring that those shaping its laws and policies possess an impeccable character and commitment.